Hall of Distinguished Alumni
Bert T. Combs
in Manchester, Ky., August 13, 1911. Died, December 4, 1991. Attorney. Judge. Governor of Kentucky.
University of Kentucky, LL.B., 1937.
graduated from Clay County High School at age 15, ranking first in his class,
but did not begin college until 1929, when he went to Cumberland College at
Williamsburg for two years (Cumberland was a junior college at the time). He
then worked as a clerk for the State Highway Department for three years to obtain
funds for his law school education. He was managing editor of the "Kentucky
Law Journal" and graduated second in his class in 1937. He was named a
member of the Order of the Coif, the highest honor given a law graduate.
practiced law in his hometown of Manchester and in Prestonsburg, until 1942,
when he enlisted as a Private in the U.S. Army. During his service in World
War II, he attained the rank of Captain and saw service in the South Pacific
on General Douglas MacArthur's staff. He became Chief of the War Crimes Department's
Investigating Section in the Philippine Islands, and was awarded the Bronze
Star and the Medal of Merit (Philippine Island).
resumption of the practice of law in Prestonsburg, he served as City Attorney
and later as Commonwealth's Attorney. He was President of the Junior Bar Association
of Kentucky, 1946-47. In 1951, he was appointed to a judgeship on the Kentucky
Court of Appeals and was elected to a full eight-year term. The University awarded
him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1961.
resigned from the court in 1955 to run his first campaign for governor. He lost
the election and practiced law until elected to the governorship four years
later, in 1959. Upon completion of his term in the governorship in 1963, he
again entered the practice of law and was appointed a judge of the United States
Court of Appeals for the Sixth District by President Johnson in 1967.
1964, he was named Kentucky's outstanding attorney for his service to the legal
profession. He was visiting professor in the Political Science Department at
the University of Massachusetts during the spring semester of 1964.
following his resignation as judge of the Sixth District on June 5, 1970, he
became a member of the Louisville-based firm of Tarrant, Combs and Bullitt.
has been a member of several professional, civic and fraternal organizations,
and has maintained a deep interest in programs for handicapped children. In
1963, he received the Joseph P. Kennedy International Award for "outstanding
contributions and leadership in the field of mental retardations."
Bert T. Combs was named to the
Hall of Distinguished Alumni in February 1965.